We know that Theodore Turley lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, through all of 1850,1 but, due to issues surrounding Utah becoming a territory, the federal census was not taken there until early 1851.2 By that point, Theodore and his family had already moved south to Utah Valley, the staging ground for those planning to help settle San Bernardino, California.

In March, 437 volunteers, among whom were natives of every state but two and natives of eight foreign countries, met with their 150 wagons at Peteetneet (present-day Payson, Utah, sixty miles south of Salt Lake City), anxious to go [to California] even though a sale of the Rancho had not been completed.3

Theodore’s household in the 1850 census4 represents the significant changes in his family structure during the previous decade. Children from two of his three plural wives are present,5 as is the child of Theodore’s new wife, Ruth Jane Giles. Theodore and Ruth were married the previous year, on June 18, 1850, in Salt Lake City after the untimely death of Mary Clift.

The first five children listed are all from Theodore Turley’s first wife, Frances Kimberley: Mary Ann (recently divorced from Brigham Young6), Frederick, Sarah Elizabeth, Isaac, and Charlotte. The next child listed, George A. Selwyn, is Theodore’s stepson from his plural marriage to Sarah Ellen Clift. Following George is Joseph Orson, Ruth Jane Giles’ child from an unknown father. At the end is baby Frances Kimberley, the daughter of Theodore’s recently deceased plural wife, Mary Clift.

  • Theodore Turley, age 50, male, gunsmith, birthplace England
  • Ruth Turley, age 32, female, birthplace Massachusetts
  • Mary Ann Turley, age 23, female, birthplace Canada
  • Frederick Turley, age 19, male, birthplace Canada
  • Sarah Turley, age 15, female, birthplace Canada
  • Isaac Turley, age 14, male, birthplace Canada
  • Charlotte Turley, age 10, female, birthplace Illinois
  • George Turley [George A. Selwyn], age 9, male, birthplace Illinois
  • Joseph Turley, age 5, male, birthplace Illinois
  • Frances K Turley, age 1, female, birthplace Deseret [Utah]

Full census page:

  1. See blog post “In the Valley of the Great Salt Lake.”
  2. “The Seventh Census of the United States: Utah and Slavery,” Utah Historical Quarterly Web Extra (Spring 2017), accessed 8 April 2020, https://history.utah.gov/repository-item/the-seventh-census-of-the-united-states-utah-and-slavery-spring-2017/.
  3. Cowan, Richard O., and William E. Homer, California Saints: A 150-Year Legacy in the Golden State (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1996), 167–84, accessed 9 April 2020, https://rsc.byu.edu/california-saints/san-bernardino-colony-1851-57.
  4. “United States Census, 1850,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MCSX-WVM : 4 April 2020), Household of Theodore Turley, Utah county, Utah, Utah Territory, United States, accessed 8 April 2020.
  5. Theodore’s plural wife Eliza Clift separated from Theodore sometime before 1848 and remained in the Midwest with their only surviving child together, Emma Georgianna Turley. She and Emma settled in Davenport, Iowa, with Eliza’s father, Robert Clift.
  6. Although Mary Ann was sealed as a plural wife to Brigham Young on February 3, 1846, in Nauvoo, there is no evidence she ever lived in his household. A divorce was granted January 15, 1851, prior to the Turley family’s move to San Bernardino. (Jeffrey Ogden Johnson, “Determining and Defining ‘Wife’: The Brigham Young Households.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 20, no. 3 (Fall 1987): p. 63 and p. 68 Footnote 38) A story related years later by Mary Ann’s sister, Sarah, to Joseph Soll Turley suggests Mary Ann was not happy in the relationship (1971 letter from Joseph Soll Turley).